This is meant to be a journal entry. If it starts to extend longer then I will make it an article. As I have said previously about my writing, if this helps you then I praise God. If you think I am in error than please do not accept what I write. These things may just be for my benefit and meant only to bring me to where you already are. So do not feel obligated in any way but test all things.
My time in prayer today was painful to put it simply. I came to God troubled and, like other times, was not sure why. I still found comfort in His presence and talk to Him about what I thought was bothering me. After the somewhat sort list of obvious things, I hit upon something that caused me great pain. And more precisely, God revealed to me what was the root of my pain. I am in a new job and am having moderate success. I am trying to do this job and not give up my faith in God or His counsel how to walk. I still do not see the model to immitate. In my prayer I had come to the point of my pain. It has to do with my identity, my purpose, my calling.
I have prayed for God to give me my papers to go to a mission or to a pastoret. I have prayed for the gifts of the Spirit so as to be equipped for the work I am called to do. I have asked God to make my purpose for being here known to me and, when my pride is involved, make my purpose for being here known to my accusers. When I came to the point or realization or revelation that I did not know my purpose, did not have a clear ministry call, and therefore did not know who or what I was, I was in pain.
After I recovered myself, I started to listen to God for the meaning of all this. It became clear that When it comes specifically to praying to the Father about His will for me, I was really praying to the Father about my will for me. I began to understand a bit more of what I have been writing about, about Relationship and Religion, about what my brother Dave wrote about drawing near to God and having friendship with God. The verses in James, "You do not recieve because you do not ask, you ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions." I always thought the last part referred to people asking God for boats and money and all sorts of material possessions. Who is James writing to? Is he not speaking to believers? What does it look like when a believer asks wrongly of God to spend it on his or her passions? Let me offer myself as an example
I told you just now that I hit a root of pain when it comes to my calling, my identity, my purpose. I am terribly insecure because I do not have a soild answer for any of this. I can't point to anything and say, this is me, this is what I am suppose to be doing, this is my calling therefore God has authorized me to be here and do this. You can see this kind of search for security in the world especially with men. They define themselves by their jobs, positively or negatively. So my asking God for my calling, my purpose, what I am hear for is my asking Him to give me something to be secure in. Note that all of these things are Godly things. It is easy for me to think that if I am asking for Godly things then my motives must be right and God must be pleased. Here is where relationship beats religion. Here is where the choice to not examine my heart and allow God to examine it and show me what I am really doing, not what it looks like I am really doing.
I am asking God for cover, asking Him for some work or ministry, something tangible so that I can put my faith and security in the thing and not Him. The quick and obvious answer is to put my faith in Him and find my identity in Him. That's right. And the scripture is "Seek First His Kingdom and His Righteousness and all these things will be yours as well. At the core of my pain is this very thing. I am shown God's love every day and I am deeply grateful that He has accepted me and is intimately involved in my life. It is because of Him that I learn these things and it is because of Him that I have the strength to keep living. Only God can reveal the deepest part of us to us. God looks at the heart and can reveal it. Who else can? So my hope and my salvation and my identity is in the one who is the only One who can bring to light the things that are hidden. This is one of the reasons why prayer is so important. This is how we remain in Him, abide in Him. "Thou desirest truth in the inward being." A side benefit to this truth that is new to me is I understand the pride aspect of it too. When ex-members who are bent on reviving the Stewart standards of faithfulness and are looking at me and checking my fruit count, it is tempting to want to hold up works or point to something in defense. Well, defense of what? When works become my cover, my defense against accusers then what good are they? When I hold up works and have an answer for those who themselves are not secure in God's steadfast love, then am I not preparing myself to say at the end, "Lord, Lord, look at these works, look at these lambs, look at these bible studies and meetings, and will Jesus be pleased that I put security and faith in the works for salvation when He paid so dear a cost that I might believe on Him for my deliverance? Right now I stand alone with only God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ to vouch for me. I am blessed to be in this place. It is the best place to be as a Christian but is not a very good place to be when other christians are judging you. The only thing that suffers is pride. It is also regrettable that I would have to defend myself before those who call themselves my brothers.
I am grateful God showed me how I have prayed for so long to have security in something other than Him. Now I am able to pray without this separating force. Now I am able to find my security and safety in Him. And the bonus is that when the work of ministry comes, it will be a work of God in its proper place not in the place of God.